Radium Hot Springs
Lying just outside the southwest corner of Kootenay National Park, Radium Hot Springs is a major gateway to the entire Rocky Mountains national park area. Radium boasts a large resident population of bighorn sheep, which often wander through town, but the big attraction is the namesake hot springs, 3km north of town.
EC Manning Provincial Park
This 708-sq-km provincial park, 30km southeast of Hope, is a hint of bigger – much bigger – things to come as you head east away from the farmlands of the Lower Mainland towards the Rocky Mountains. It packs in a lot: dry valleys dark, mountainous forests roiling rivers and alpine meadows.
Williams Lake to Prince George
Cattle and lumber have shaped Williams Lake, the hub for the region. Some 206km north of the junction of Hwys 1 and 97, this small town has a pair of museums. Quesnel, 124km north of Williams Lake on Hwy 97, is all about logging. From Quesnel, Hwy 26 leads east to the area's main attractions, Barkerville Historic Park and Bowron Lake Provincial Park.
When big-time mining left Kimberley in 1973, a plan was hatched to transform the little mountain village at 1113m altitude into a tourist destination with a Bavarian theme. The center became a pedestrian zone named the Platzl; locals were encouraged to prance about in lederhosen and dirndl; and sausage was added to many a menu.
Cranbrook to Rossland
Hwy 3 twists and turns its way 300km from Cranbrook to Osoyoos at the south end of the Okanagan Valley. Along the way it hugs the hills close to the US border and passes eight border crossings. Creston, 123km west of Cranbrook, is known for its many orchards and as the home of Columbia Brewing Co's Kokanee True Ale.
Fraser River Canyon
The name alone makes Spuzzum a fun stop along Hwy 1 on its way to Cache Creek, 85km west of Kamloops. The road shadows the swiftly flowing Fraser River through the eponymous canyon and, as you'd expect, white-water rafting is huge here. Grand scenery and several good provincial parks make this a winning trip.
Rossland is a world apart. High in the Southern Monashee Mountains (1023m), this old mining village is one of Canada's best places for mountain biking. A long history of mining has left the hills crisscrossed with old trails and abandoned rail lines, all of which are perfect for riding.
Rorschach-test-like Shuswap Lake anchors a somewhat bland but pleasing region of green, wooded hills, farms and two small towns, Sicamous and Salmon Arm. The former has a lakefront park that's good for picnics, just northwest of Hwy 1. The entire area is home to several lake-based provincial parks and is a popular destination for families looking for outdoor fun.
Lake Cowichan & Around
West of Duncan on Hwy 18, the waterfront town of Lake Cowichan is an ideal destination for outdoorsy types. Hugging the eastern end of the lake and the adjoining Cowichan River, the town marks the end of the Trans-Canada Trail, a mammoth hiking and biking route that runs across the country from Newfoundland.